Russia: Anarchist art group Voina Arrested and Beaten by the Police (Again!)


Oleg Vorotnikov, Natalia “Kozlionok” Sokol, and Leonid Nikolaev were arrested during the peaceful demonstration against violations of article 31 of russian constitution (freedom of peaceful assembly) along with many other protesters. Oleg Vorotnikov and his 2-year old son Casper were taken to the police station #28. Two policewomen took Casper to a separate office, and Oleg hasn’t seen him since. At the police station, Oleg was severely beaten. The art-group’s lawyer, Dmitriy Dinze, has managed to set Oleg free, with the help of emergency ambulance brigade. After a short while he left the emergency hospital, where the doctors have officially examined the bruises after police battery.

Dmitriy Dinze is trying to set free other activists, who are held at the police station #78 (Chekhov st. 15) but so far with no results. The cops do not let nor the lawyer neither the ambulance brigade see them. As Dinze said to Oleg “Leonid and Kozlionok are beaten up there. The cops turned on some loud music and just beat them.” One of the protesters held in this police station called Dinze and told him about the battery.

Dinze called the city police board and told them about the violations. Tho police superiors came to the police station, but after a short conversation with the policemen of #78 they just left. He tried for nearly 5 hours to get inside and to see the arrested, but the officer on duty bluntly refused to let him in.

Casper was taken to a children’s hospital. There he’s registered as an unidentified child. Dmitriy Dinze and Elena Kostileva have called the hospital to let the doctors know his name, date of birth, etc. But they demanded proof. Natalia Sokol, mother of the child, has all Casper’s papers, but she’s being held by the police and not allowed to see the lawyer. The biggest concern at the moment is that Casper will be taken to an orphanage. Oleg Vorotnikov is trying to get his son from the hospital, but without papers the doctors may as well refuse him.

Russia: Anarchist artists attacked by police

On March 3 in St. Petersburg around 5 p.m. three activists of the art group Voina – Leonid Nikolayev, Oleg Vorotnikov, and Natalya Sokol – have been attacked and severely beaten by seven plainclothes policemen. The attackers reportedly shouted that they were from the city’s criminal investigation department.

Vorotnikov and Nikolayev held a press conference earlier on March 3 in which they told journalists about the poor conditions they faced in Moscow’s pretrial detention center.

As a result Oleg Vorotnikov received bruises, Natalia Sokol got a serious hand injury, Leonid Nikolayev – a head injury. A 2-year-old Kasper also suffered.

Fragment from Oleg Vorotnikov’s story:

When we left the press conference in the Ligovsky prospect, we noticed that we were followed by a group of typical thugs. We observed that those were clearly anti-extremism officers… One police officer attacked Lenya from behind. They waved their IDs but we couldn’t examine them. They pushed baby pram away and hit Kasper against his face causing a bruise on his left chick. Two others knocked Kozlyenok down into the paddle and started kicking her. They injured her hand very seriously. I managed to free myself from the officers who were holding me and covered Kozlyenok with my body. The blows rained against my back and head. Kozlyenok’s face was already bashed. What’s more when they dragged her by hair, they pulled out one of her braids. The officers were trying to take away a camera from her. But she held it tightly. Activist Lyubka seized one of the officers and he bit her hand…

The police officers managed to confiscate a camera memory card. The artists were delivered to the trauma station.